The Alpine Region is at the forefront of the transition towards a low-carbon or even carbon-neutral economy. Its economic structure composed predominantly of SMEs, the natural environment, the population patterns, the traditions based on its mountainrural history, the energy production and distribution system and - not last - its high vulnerability to the negative effects of global warming and environmental change, place it in a pioneering position, where new approaches and innovative technologies are being put into practice.
Being among Europe’s wealthiest regions (and being responsible for the related environmental impact), the EUSALP area will need to be one of the main actors of the EU’s transition towards a green and sustainable economy, a driving force of future technologies and aspiring to be one of the places with the highest environmental and living standards. The Alpine region must therefore locate its strengths and opportunities within the scenarios outlined by the European energy strategy & the European Green Deal. Even more so, the Alpine region will need to pursue goals that go beyond the common EU goals, setting its own ambitious targets for the transition to a substantially carbon-neutral economy in EUSALP.
Creating “a carbon-neutral Alpine region” will require profound transformations in all sectors of the economy, in particular in the production, distribution and consumption of energy, and has implications on many aspects of society (e.g. jobs, mobility patterns, etc.), the environment, and governance models (centralized vs. decentralized). It has enormous potential to expand sustainable and job-intensive economic activity. The potentials for decarbonization are significant, and they include the domains of several EUSALP Action Groups, ranging from technological innovation, stimulation of specific sectors of the economy, transition towards a circular economy, the creation of new jobs and training models, digitalization of towns, “smart” cities and sustainable rural areas, “greening” our means of transportation and our energy sources, just to mention some examples.